Cisco teams with Schneider Electric for compact edge systems

Cisco Systems and Schneider Electric are readying a combined hyper-converged infrastructure product for sale later this year.

The new package will be Cisco’s HyperFlex Edge on Schneider Electric’s six-unit EcoStruxure wall-mounted micro data center. Pricing and availability have not yet been announced.

The HyperFlex Edge is a hyper-converged infrastructure, designed to consolidate edge hardware, software and services on Intel x86 servers into a cluster of compute, storage and networking nodes.

Hyper-converged infrastructure is becoming a strategic need for more and more enterprises. Businesses are taking back chunks of data processing from the cloud in order to speed up compute tasks.

While some companies are bringing it back to their campuses, others are contracting with edge service companies, and it is this niche that Cisco and Schneider Electric are targeting with this development.

In both contexts, the information-technology work moving to the edge is forced into smaller — certainly compared to pre-cloud days when companies often would build new, physical data centers — layouts. And creating function nodes, upgrades and additions can be made to one function without having to change all related functions.

Cisco’s edge system is based on the company’s decade-old Unified Computing System, which is a data center server hardware and software with virtualization support, switching fabric and management applications.

Industry analyst firm International Data Corp. has noted that the two most commonly deployed hypervisors, VMware vSphere and Microsoft Corp.’s Hyper-V are supported by HyperFlex. This capability is one of the keys to enabling enterprise customers to upgrade their older server infrastructure while gaining benefits of HCI such as lower operating costs and faster hardware and application deployment times.

As for management software, the Cisco/Schneider Electric combined product will carry Intersight Workload Optimizer, a Cisco software-as-a-service platform that offers real-time analytics, automation, and systems visibility. HyperFlex also is integrated with Schneider Electric’s data center infrastructure management software, EcoStruxure IT.

Together, according to the firms, the management applications enable channel partners and managed service providers to predictively monitor and service systems for maximum uptime.

French electrical-equipment maker Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure is a wall-mounted cabinet that holds servers, networking equipment and uninterrupted-power-supply systems vertically to fit in tighter spaces than typical edge systems occupy.

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